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Welsh face beer and soft drinks shortage during World Cup

A beer and soft drinks shortage has hit the industry in Welsh pubs and shops this summer, just in time for massively increased demand during the World Cup.

Drink-makers are concerned over CO2 supply, gas which carbonates beer and soft drinks, at the time when temperatures are rising. The cause of the shortage has been attributed to a longer break in production of ammonia, one of the key sources of food grade CO2 in Europe. The situation has been described as the worst CO2 supply problem in decades, according to trade journal Gas World.

Although it is unclear which companies have been affected, the shortfall could cause struggle for brewers to keep up with increased demands and shortages on supermarket drinks aisles.

The UK has been particularly affected as the only major CO2 plant operated earlier this week and imports were affected in Benelux and France. Tesco has already showed a number of carbonated drinks as unavailable in its website, including own-label Schweppes lemonade and Dr Pepper.

Director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, Gavin Partington, said: “The shortage of CO2 across northern Europe is impacting a wide range of businesses across the food and drink sector. Soft drinks producers in the UK are taking active steps to maintain their service to customers including working with their suppliers to mitigate the impact as well as looking at alternative sources.”

CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds, added: “We are aware of a situation affecting the availability of CO2 across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK. We have recommended our members to continue to liaise with their providers directly where they have concerns over supply.

“We will continue to monitor the situation carefully. However, given the time of year and the World Cup, this situation has arisen at an unfortunate time for the brewing industry.”

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